Sunvoice

Adjustment Required To Keep Up With Changing Face Of Peacekeeping

The first comprehensive independent review of United Nations peacekeeping missions in 15 years is about to begin. It’s a welcome development from Fiji’s standpoint as a troop-contributing nation. The kidnapping
04 Nov 2014 07:05
Adjustment Required To  Keep Up With Changing Face  Of  Peacekeeping

The first comprehensive independent review of United Nations peacekeeping missions in 15 years is about to begin. It’s a welcome development from Fiji’s standpoint as a troop-contributing nation.

The kidnapping of 45 Golan Heights Fijian peacekeepers and the attack on their Filipino counterparts underscores the need for a review to ascertain the relevance and effectiveness of UN internationbal peacekeeping.

Some of the ground rules of engagement probably need changing. The “Don’t Shoot First” protocol which governs military operations has placed many peacekeepers in risky and precarious situations in the past. Peacekeepers wait to be shot at before they can respond. Brave Fijian soldiers have shed blood and lost their lives in southern Lebanon upholding this policy. Since Lebanon, the nature of peacekeeping has evolved. Armed elements and terrorists have become more sophisticated, subtle and daring.

The increasing incidence of hostage-taking in the relentless pursuit for ransom money to finance their armed struggle is a constant worry. The capture of the Fijian peacekeepers highlighted this problem. It raised the stakes and proved that the security and safety of peacekeepers cannot be guaranteed in volatile regions like the Middle East. Fiji should be grateful that one of its allies in the Gulf region, Qatar, stepped in was able to rescue the Fijians by reportedly paying ransom money.

Political commentators say if peacekeeping is to serve as a useful instrument in the maintenance of international peace and security, it needs conceptual clarity, political support, and financial resources. “For peacekeeping to remain effective in a changing world, its credibility must not be jeopardised by the application of peacekeeping to inappropriate situations, by the issuance of mandates unsupported by doctrinal consistency or military means, or by the undermining of its authority by attempts to reconcile peacekeeping with war-making under the rubric of peace enforcement.”

The original principles of peacekeeping of impartiality and non-use of force were applied with the consent of the State. But in Darfur and the Congo, peacekeepers were criticised for not being proactive in the face of violence when the mandates given to them by the Security Council clearly enabled them, to use force against those who would undermine the peace or threaten civilians.

The outcome of the peacekeeping review will hopefully equip Fiji and other contributing countries to continue their mission in a more effective environment.




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